TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Scientists have found the live microorganisms that boost ‘good bacteria’ in the stomach can enhance weight loss.

They studied a group of overweight children taking supplements. All of them were also given an exercise regime and diet plan.

Results showed youngsters using probiotics lost a ‘significantly’ higher number of pounds compared to those who didn’t, The Daily Mail reported.

Critics said it’s too early to jump to conclusions considering the study is yet to be published in a journal.

However, it’s the latest of a swathe of evidence suggesting the gut microbiome could play a powerful role in weight regulation.

The research, carried out by Fuzhou Children’s Hospital in China, involved 54 obese children between six and 14 years old.

Thirty were randomly assigned to take probiotic pills and 24 were in the placebo group. The trial lasted 12 weeks.

Researchers, led by Professor Rui-Min Chen, analysed various measurements of the children’s weight and metabolic health.

Those who had been treated with probiotic supplements lost significantly more weight – but the authors did not quantify how much.

The children in the probiotics group also had better metabolic health, measured by level of inflammatory proteins and blood glucose levels.

This may also prevent the children from developing obesity related disorders in the future, such as type two diabetes and heart disease.

Professor Chen said: ‘More work is needed to confirm these findings, our number of participants was small and limited to the Fuijan area.

‘Other studies have also reported no benefits from probiotic treatment in obese children but these were much shorter in duration.

‘Further investigation is needed before any medical recommendations can be made.’

The team now plan to conduct more widespread trials to analyse how probiotics alter the gut.

By many accounts, probiotics can boost the diversity of gut bacteria, keeping the digestive system working efficiently.

The children in the study took probiotic capsule that contained different strains of live bacteria, each of which have been found to have some positive benefits in research.

This includes Lactobacillus bulgaricus, found in yoghurts and fermented food. The Lactobacillus family has been shown to slash belly fat as well as reduce the number of calories taken from food.

However, an independent expert said it’s not possible to judge the probiotics in this study as effective yet, because the study is not peer-reviewed or published.

Glenn Gibson, professor of food microbiology, at University of Reading, said: ‘The probiotics used are not well described. Only species designations are given.

‘Probiotic dose is not given. The placebo used is not given.

‘No faecal microbiology seems to have been done, this is essential if the authors wish to claim probiotic effects.’

He added: ‘The gut microbiota is known to be involved in satiety, appetite regulation and calorie regulation. So there are plausible mechanisms behind these findings.’

Professor Chen said: ‘Childhood obesity is a growing problem that needs early intervention to prevent long-term health problems; microbiome-based treatments could be a new and more effective strategy for tackling this serious epidemic.’

Strategies to curb childhood obesity is high on the Governments agenda.

The proportion of children who are severely obese in England has risen by more than a third since 2007, figures show.

41million children under five were overweight or obese compared to 1990, according to The World Health Organization.

The findings were presented at the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology’s annual meeting in Vienna, Austria. They have not been published in a journal.